Kislak Center
for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts

Detail of wood engraving The effects of the proclamation: Freed Negroes coming into our lines, Newbern, North Carolina, Harper's Weekly, February 21, 1863), Penn Libraries.

Goldstein Family Gallery

The Great Emancipator
and the Great Central Fair

January 20 - February 27, 2015

The Great Emancipator and the Great Central Fair exhibits a wealth of materials that highlight the Emancipation Proclamation as both document and deed. In 1864, as the meaning of the proclamation began to crystallize both for the millions in bondage and for the country at large, forty eight specially-printed copies of the Emancipation Proclamation, autographed by President Lincoln, were put on sale in Philadelphia at the Great Central Fair. The Penn Libraries' exhibit features two of these forty eight copies, reunited for the first time since they were offered in 1864 for ten dollars each, along with a congressional manuscript copy of the thirteenth amendment signed by all the members of Congress who voted for the amendment, President Lincoln, and Vice President Hamlin. For more information.

Recent acquisition

An annotated English Bible that belonged to Francis Daniel Pastorius (1651-1720) and passed down through his family for three centuries has returned to Philadelphia. Pastorius, credited with being the founder of Germantown (now part of Philadelphia), emigrated from Germany in 1683 and quickly became an important figure in the new colony. This Bible joins two Pastorius manuscripts already in the collection of the Kislak Center, The Young Country Clerk's Collection, the earliest practical legal treatise written in British North America, and the Beehive, a massive commonplace book in which he gathered together, like a bee, selections from the hundreds of books he had read. Both manuscripts have been at Penn since 1949, when they were given to the Library by members of the Pastorius family. Two manuscripts by Pastorius's father, Melchoir Adam Pastorius, were given to Penn by Joseph George Rosengarten in 1908. Read more here.